Google + connections will affect business' SEO rankings

Google + has allowed only a small number of brands to carry accounts on its new social network, according to Search Engine Land. The company promises to open the floodgates for business profiles by the third quarter of 2011.

The ability to increase local SEO rankings using Google + has yet to be entirely understood. However, the news source notes that if someone is connected to a brand over Google's social network, it allows that company to rank higher on the follower's search results.

Google has had this Social Search feature since 2009. As a result, content from friends ranks higher in searches if a person is logged into his or her Google account. Business owners who create a Google + page for their brands should be aware how connections alter search results. Each person who connects to a business using the social network will see that company's information rank higher when they're logged in.

However, Computer World notes, that the buzz has worn off somewhat since Google + debuted its product in late June, with visits down 3 percent from the previous week. The company's insistence that users provide their real names on their accounts and its lack of business profiles may have contributed to these results.